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Fishing Ucluelet for Locals

Ucluelet was the place to be in 2023

Sometimes you are in the right place at the right time. During most of the season we managed to get limits of Chinook salmon, but late August was a special. There were so many salmon swimming by you probably could have just snagged them.

Have you ever heard about a place called the Kenai?

This Alaskan river was known for getting some very large Chinook salmon. Last year the Kenai had about 15K Chinook return to the river. That is a low number.

The Cowichan River had over 20K Chinook return which was much higher than the 6K forcast.

But guess how many fish went through Barkley Sound?

A normal good year is 80-90 K. Even that’s a pretty good number when you think about it. The majority of the fish go through during August so that’s about 2500 fish a day swimming through. Now to be fair most probably go through somewhere between Beg Island and Bamfield from August 10-25. So that’s probably going to be about 5K fish a day going through and feeding along the way.

The whole world famous Kenai had less than 15K Chinook salmon return for the year and we likely had over 200K Chinook pass through Barkley Sound.

My thoughts are we probably had about 6-7K mature Chinook salmon a day going past the lighthouse.

That is simply amazing.

To give a little more perspective, the the Columbia River had a return of around 500K Chinook in 2023 which was a 10 year high. The Stamp river is a small fraction of the size but still had 40% of the run size.

I hope some of you went to Stamp Falls to see the Chinook climbing their way to their final resting place.

Pictured below are Cris Martin of the Ucluelet food bank and Pete Ashby after some fun fishing.

Tight lines and enjoy your winter salmon!

Sam Vandervalk

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